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Hannibal7
01-29-2013, 12:48 AM
Does anyone know of any literature on identifying a resistance movement in a closed State?

For example, say is South Korea wanted to invade North Korea, but only if they had evidence that there are active rebels/a resistance movement already in place to assist them. In such a controlled environment, how would North Korean rebels make their presence known that they even exist?

In my story, a crew onboard a spacecraft continually look for any signs of resistance members down on Earth (which is controlled by a totalitarian regime). It may be the case that there are none, but they try anyway. How would you go about your search? They are able to hack into the regime's systems, but have limited 'contact' with Earth. The situation on Earth would be worse than that of North Korea - total control on every aspect of life.

There must be some historical parallels that could be useful.

cbenoi1
01-29-2013, 12:56 AM
Tracking money and communications would certainly be high on the priority list, looking from the outside. Otherwise there is nothing like an inside man to get you more information.

> South Korea wanted to invade North Korea

I think it goes the other way around. Just sayin'.


-cb

Hannibal7
01-29-2013, 01:11 AM
Thanks, the difficulty is that any sign would almost have to in plain sight but and the same time hidden (to the regime). The environment I'm setting on Earth is that there is no communication that goes unmonitored, but I guess I could come up with a way round that.

I guess one way would be to communicate in a language the State is ignorant of, in my story's case it would be science and maths.

It would also be fair to say that and signal/sign of resistance would imply it came from a high ranking position, due to the nature of a a centralised communication system that most totalitarian regimes operate under. However, the top ranking positions are usually filled with those most loyal to the regime!

The process of determining resistance in a secretive State seems to me to have similarities to how an alien race would detect intelligence on Earth if it happened to look our way.

Sarpedon
01-29-2013, 01:16 AM
You could have someone harvest their grain crops to create a binary pattern or something. Or lay out their carpets to air or something like that. A satellite could easily distinguish something like that, but only if they knew what to look for.

Also, a simple radio transmission, very short and cut off, with a mobile transmitter, would be very difficult to track.

Or even a directional signal, pointed straight up, would be almost undetectable from the ground, but could be received by a satellite, presuming only one side has satellites.

frimble3
01-29-2013, 04:27 AM
Are the rebels expecting spaceships to come looking for them? Would there be a reason for them to try to signal to allies from the stars?
If not, I'd say the quickest sign of resistance to the regime would be big prisons.
As to the resistance being from high-ranking positions, I'd day it would be more likely to be 'little people', low-ranking individuals that the people in charge don't really have time to watch constantly.

As for historical precedents, have you looked at WWII resistance movements? Lots of documentation there, I imagine, while Western efforts to contact potential resistors or informants in Communist Europe might still be classified.

Dave Hardy
01-29-2013, 04:50 AM
Does anyone know of any literature on identifying a resistance movement in a closed State?

For example, say is South Korea wanted to invade North Korea, but only if they had evidence that there are active rebels/a resistance movement already in place to assist them. In such a controlled environment, how would North Korean rebels make their presence known that they even exist?

In my story, a crew onboard a spacecraft continually look for any signs of resistance members down on Earth (which is controlled by a totalitarian regime). It may be the case that there are none, but they try anyway. How would you go about your search? They are able to hack into the regime's systems, but have limited 'contact' with Earth. The situation on Earth would be worse than that of North Korea - total control on every aspect of life.

There must be some historical parallels that could be useful.

Interestingly enough it was tried. The CIA coordinated a number of infiltration groups from S Korea into N Korea.

They died like dogs.

The CIA and later MACV-SOG had an even worse track record in N Vietnam with infiltration groups routinely getting captured and turned. The CIA just as routinely ignored warning signals from radio operators. New units would parachute in to meet the resistance, get immediately captured, and turned. Occasionally, just for variety the N Vietnamese would shoot down one of our C-140s. The N Vietnamese got so bored with the whole thing they started taunting them on radio transmissions.

Kenneth Conboy's Spies and Commandos is an absolutely devastating expose of covert failure in SE Asia.

I think a lot of the CIA culture stems from the SOE/OSS experience of WWII fighting the Nazis & Japanese. But in those cases the occupiers were in new territory where there were strong local institutions that serve as focal points for resistance. Communist regimes dominating their home countries proved a very different beast.

Even anti-Soviet partisans who had built up strong organizations in the chaos of WWII, found themselves in swift retreat from Stalin's security forces. Covert aid from the West proved harmful as British turncoat Kim Philby was informing the NKVD of every step Western agencies took to aid insurgents behind the Iron Curtain.

So for a truly closed state, it's pretty problematic.

The good news is, you're writing science fiction. Your spies can learn from the CIA's failures to come up with something clever!

Dave Hardy
01-29-2013, 05:12 AM
Here's some detail on the specific topic you mentioned, covert aid to partisans in Korea:


UNITED NATIONS PARTISAN INFANTRY KOREA, 8240TH AU (http://www.korean-war.com/specops.html)


The night of 20-21 February 1954 was overcast with occasional snow flurries and the temperature was near zero as two 50-foot patrol boats slipped quietly across the Han River Estuary mud flats. Shortly before midnight they glided to a stop two hundred yards off the beach at Haenam-ni, North Korea. Minutes later two black assault boats rode a still rising tide to a mud beach, quickly loaded thirty-two survivors from the ill-fated BEEHIVE stay-behind mission, and returned to the waiting boats. The last man boarded and at zero zero four-three hours the 50-footers executed the well known maneuver, 'Haul Ass, thus ending the last operational mission by United Nations Partisan Infantry Korea, the 8240th Army Unit


Much more if you follow the link. Particularly telling is this quote near the end:


HURRICANE (31 March), to contact a reported 200 partisans operating in the ANJU area: RABBIT 1(1 April), to establish stay-behind bases southwest of WONSAN and another northeast of Pyongyang; and RABBIT 11(6 April), a six man (three men to each RABBIT I location) augmentation. All infiltrations succeeded but, as often happened in the past, radio contact failed shortly after insertion.

Radio silence meant they were dead. The 200 reported partisans were likely phantoms, a plant by the Norks to lure in more covert teams to their deaths.

spice chai
01-29-2013, 07:07 AM
Are the oppressors aliens? I've often thought about the differences in what is obvious to different species or types of people. For example, if you stack up a pile of stones into a little tower, every human in the world instantly takes note and realizes another human placed it there. But some aliens (or especially robots) would likely not even notice.

Likewise colors look very different depending on your optical hardware. Humans can see three colors, red, green, and blue, and everything else is just mixtures of those three colors. If an alien sees in ultraviolet, green, and blue, then any graffiti in red might be invisible. If the aliens see using ultrasound, most paints will look the same, no matter the color.

Also humans are enormously sensitive to gaze. You notice immediately who is looking at whom in a room full of people, and volumes can be conveyed silently with just the eyes - lecherousness, rage, boredom, dominance, fear, humor, etc.

If the oppressors are humans though, the communication would have to rely on culture rather than biology. Humans are experts at inserting secret messages available only to certain cultural backgrounds. Slang, double entendre, rhymes, puns, clothing, posture, etc.

This is all assuming the rebels know about the astronauts and want to communicate with them. If not, the most important indicator of where rebels are located would be violence. Fires (heat signatures), smoke, troop movements and aircraft movements indicating a search pattern, all would indicate active rebel cells in the area.

RedRam
01-29-2013, 07:26 AM
It seems like the best signal would be the one given off by a gloating government. "We caught these rebels and killed them" contains the message, "There are rebels."

Other patterns would be missing people in a similar geographic area. Books or stores being frequented by atypical users. Money moving hands in weird ways. Or maybe even odd patterns in the geography that signal hidden camps or safehouses.

thothguard51
01-29-2013, 07:28 AM
In my story, a crew onboard a spacecraft continually look for any signs of resistance members down on Earth (which is controlled by a totalitarian regime). It may be the case that there are none, but they try anyway. How would you go about your search? They are able to hack into the regime's systems, but have limited 'contact' with Earth. The situation on Earth would be worse than that of North Korea - total control on every aspect of life.

There must be some historical parallels that could be useful.

A single spaceship with how many aboard and what do they hope to accomplish against a whole world?

ironmikezero
01-29-2013, 09:39 PM
Historically, resistance groups/movements (in the traditional sense) have two Achilles heels; logistics and communications. If their adversaries can interfere/intercept either, the group's effectiveness is negated to a large degree.

If your story needs such a confrontational dynamic, this is one that will always make credible sense, the setting notwithstanding.

As for your invaders identifying the resistance group, they would likely monitor the appropriate communications channels and the movement/stockpiling of relative supplies (weapons, fuel, etc.).

melindamusil
01-30-2013, 12:46 AM
What about going backwards in technology? The oppressors might be looking for super complex encrypted messages, but they might totally miss an amateur short-wave radio operator. (Look up ham radio/amateur radio for more technical info.)

This actually worked in WWII at the Buchenwald concentration camp. Of course it helped that the Nazis were on their way down, but a group of prisoners managed to put together a secret short-wave transmitter and small generator, and were able to use it to alert the US Third Army of their plight.

dirtsider
01-30-2013, 01:29 AM
I was thinking of the Voice Of Resistance radio broadcasts during WWII. Also look up the Marquis Resistance Movement. Star Trek: TNG and ST: Voyager used that concept for their own version of the Marquis.

You might also want to watch the TV series: Brad Meltzer's Decoded. There was at least one episode on American spies during the American Revolution. You might find that useful. (I think it was in the second season but can't remember which episode.)

melindamusil
01-30-2013, 01:54 AM
Another thought on resistance radio broadcasts: There have been a LOT of radio broadcasts into oppressed areas (North Korea, Syria, etc.) sent from nearby countries or from ships in international waters.

I know there are people in South Korea who will send radios and such into North Korea by attaching them to balloons and letting them float over the DMZ. Also the US airlifted pamphlets (usually attached to food or other necessities) into East Germany or other USSR-occupied areas.

ETA: Hey, speaking of airlifts- what if your spacecraft crew drops something (pamphlets?) saying 'we are here and if you are with us/want to fight back against the government, let us know by putting a red hankerchief by your door'. (worked for Rahab in the Bible!) Or 'we are here and the battle will begin on Saturday morning'. Orrr....

ClareGreen
01-30-2013, 03:38 AM
The problem with indiscriminate drops is that they're indiscriminate. They can just as easily land up with the wrong people as the right ones, and all it takes is one wrong one for the whole game to be up.

Discriminate drops are slightly better, but you do still get people asking why that aircraft was flying so low last night.

A better message are things like the 'Keep Calm and Carry On' posters may have been - they were absolutely and perfectly normal to look at, and yet to those in the know they could have been the activation phrase for a secret resistance. (It's one theory for why they were never used.) Pre-arranging your signal among your sympathisers is generally more effective.

Orianna2000
02-01-2013, 01:13 AM
Could they send someone down to try and make contact with the resistance? You know, have them nose around, ask cautious questions, and eventually get led in the right direction? Or are the aliens too alien-looking to infiltrate Earth?

Dave Hardy
02-01-2013, 02:24 AM
Could they send someone down to try and make contact with the resistance? You know, have them nose around, ask cautious questions, and eventually get led in the right direction? Or are the aliens too alien-looking to infiltrate Earth?

That's an extremely risky tactic in a totalitarian society. There are no cautious questions when it comes to resisting a regime where citizens have no rights.

Moreover, where there is some overt resistance the authorities (and not just in dictatorships) often employ agents provocateurs, secret police who pose as rebels in order to betray whoever joins up.

So at best anyone asking questions would be frozen out, treated as a police spy, so they get nowhere. At worst the regime's police get wind of them, arrest them & torture them into giving away their program, and then force the prisoners to lure in more agents to repeat the process. The examples of disasters like that are too numerous to account for here.

Orianna2000
02-01-2013, 02:42 AM
Oops! I guess I need to do some revisions to my current novel-in-progress. I made it extremely easy for the heroine to find the resistance in a communistic/militaristic country. She just asked around and got nudged in the right direction. The government thinks the resistance is more of a joke than anything else, they aren't really concerned with putting them down, so there isn't much risk in her seeking them out. I guess that's not very realistic.

Dave Hardy
02-01-2013, 02:57 AM
Oops! I guess I need to do some revisions to my current novel-in-progress. I made it extremely easy for the heroine to find the resistance in a communistic/militaristic country. She just asked around and got nudged in the right direction. The government thinks the resistance is more of a joke than anything else, they aren't really concerned with putting them down, so there isn't much risk in her seeking them out. I guess that's not very realistic.

Well, don't let me derail you! I would suppose it depends on how you play it. If it's for laughs, then the clever heroine outwitting the dull-witted police is a fun sort of tale.

The other thing is that regimes do experience decay. What would have been suicide in Stalin's day might have been a mere prank in the late '80s.

I remember a boozy evening in Prague with some young Czechs who told me about life in the last days of Communism. A young woman told me of some act of defiance. I wondered a bit as I had heard a lot from older people about parents suffering prison & exile in the '50s & '60s. She said her generation simply wasn't afraid of the Communists anymore.

That said, OP pretty much described a fully-functioning totalitarian regime. I'd be wary of making it too easy to meet the resistance, besides where's the challenge? :)

melindamusil
02-01-2013, 04:00 AM
You know, didn't early Christian sects use a fish symbol to identify themselves? Like, the shopkeeper might have a fish carved into a door, and other christians knew that fish=friend, but the government was none the wiser...

You could also create chaos in the government... maybe the leader died without an heir, or there's some kind of power struggle, so people can get away with a little more than usual.

dirtsider
02-04-2013, 01:23 AM
I would think that even if the government did consider the resistance as a joke, they'd still have someone keeping an eye on them, if only to keep tabs on membership. This way, if the resistance does become more effective and therefore more of a threat (such as with the arrival of the spaceship), they'd know who to arrest and/or blackmail to turn traitor to the group. And they'd be aware of the MC's arrival.

I would also think that the resistance would also be on the look out for recruits or outside assistance. Particularly if they're aware of other cultures beyond Earth.

So the question would be, does the resistance know there are other cultures out there? Maybe the people on the spaceship are from an old Earth colony.

Another suggestion is to 'insert' someone into the society, if that's possible on your story, and then wait for someone to approach her. This way she has some time to integrate herself into the society while doing research on who the resistance groups are and how they recruit.